Why are you running for re-election to the Piscataway School Board?
I have benefited from the kindness of others many times in my life. My entire education from kindergarten to Ph.D. did not cost my family or me any money, but it surely wasn’t free. It was paid for by others in the belief that somehow society would benefit from my education and I have been committed to making good on that belief. Giving to charitable causes has always been as much of an obligation to me as paying taxes or supporting my family. Moreover, volunteer work has been a lifestyle my wife and I have embraced and has been the main source of the friends we’ve made over the years. I have served on the Pastoral Council at church, taught PreCana classes to couples planning to marry, volunteered at the inter-faith homeless shelter, and other activities. Currently, my wife and I are members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. We mainly assist families being evicted from their homes or who are having their utilities cut off. The School Board is especially dear to me because education lifted me out of poverty. Serving on the school board has given me the opportunity to help improve the lives of all the children in our town; not necessarily to lift them out of poverty, but to lift them a notch or two higher in whatever endeavor they choose to pursue.
What specific things do you hope to accomplish?
I would like to see the Academies of Piscataway High Schools expanded to include two academies in the humanities to complement the original four academies launched last year. Currently, they include the Biomedical Academy, the Engineering Academy, the Visual Arts Academy and the Performing Arts Academy. This year, the Pre-Law and Justice Academy will be launched if approved by the Board of Education. I’d like to continue infusing technology into the curricula, further develop critical thinking skills and data mining skills and de-emphasize content learning. I also want to promote better co-ordination of curricula from one grade level to the next grade level, especially when the student moves from one school to the next. Finally, I’d like to continue building a sense of community between our schools and promote a safe, nurturing environment throughout the district.
About the Candidate.
This is my sixth year on the board. In addition, I have experience in teaching, research and administration. I hold a BA from Queens College and a PhD from Temple University Medical School. I did my postdoctoral training at Cornell University Medical College before joining the faculty at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. After 12 years as a professor, I left academia to become Vice President of Chavant, Inc., a privately held company.